Friday, May 23, 2008
Gangs in Allen County
I attended a workshop yesterday on gangs in Fort Wayne. I was reminded of many things I had forgotten. We all know the different signs of gangs -- graffiti, specialized handshakes, tattoos, clothing. What I did learn was that gangs are most easily found and joined on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. They said that the gangs watch who view their pages, and then give them an application to join. An interesting fact--if our gang unit in the police department find an Allen County student holding guns on their MySpace page they are expelled from school.
Other related tidbits:
The most surprising thing I saw was a picture of Williams sisters while doing the milk mustache ad flashed the Crypts sign. (The "c" around the waist.)
Some people are confusing cliques with gangs. The obvious difference is a clique is non-violent, whereas gangs are. (I wonder who was confusing them.)
The numbers you see in gang names usually refer to a letter of the alphabet. For example 13 is the letter M and stands for Mexico. When you see 13 in a gang name that means they are Mexicans.
We know one major reason that kids join gangs is for protections and/or a feeling of family, but did you know that it is common for gangs member to turn on their own gang and kill them? Sort of negates the reason for joining doesn't it?
Two websites were given to learn more. Know Gangs is a website for the entire United States, and you can search by city or county. Unfortunately Allen County has no info, but it's still a good place to begin if one knows little about gangs. They give examples of the handshakes, clothing, etc. The National Gang Crime Research Center gives really good background and research data on gangs in the US.